For the past two years, painter Kiki Slaughter has been building her large-scale abstract artworks in the enchanted ruins of a 377-square-foot studio at The Goat Farm Arts Center in Atlanta, GA. The move to this location from Virginia had Slaughter trading in a mountain view for a more industrial setting, but as it turned out, she got a little bit of farm life mixed in with her new city digs. The space is set within a 19th-century cotton gin factory converted to contemporary art studios and gallery venues, all sitting on 12 acres of land within the heart of the city. True to its name, there are even goats and chickens living on the premises. An unconventional contrast between old factory buildings and farm animals gives The Goat Farm a unique aesthetic charm that ignites many a creative spark. The compound is even sought after by Hollywood — you may recognize it as District 12 in The Hunger Games movies, or as the setting of scenes in The Walking Dead. “You never know what you are going to see around here!,” jokes Slaughter.
The bare, industrial bones of the artist’s studio space offer big windows, hardwood floors, exposed brick, and tall ceilings, of which many surfaces have become layered with pigment in a similar fashion to her paintings. “My work is best described as an experiment with the fundamental process of painting. I pour, scrape, layer, and otherwise manipulate the paint on the canvas to create pieces that are rich in color and texture,” she explains. As much as she loved the battered old wood floors, the dynamic nature of her painting process forced her to protect them immediately upon arrival. The floors are now covered in thick tarps that often get painted right alongside the canvases, as she paints on the ground and works on multiple paintings at a time, jumping from one to the next. And while it may seem part of the overall patina sweeping the room, even the two vintage French bergère chairs are (intentionally) paint-covered, having been upholstered with Slaughter’s own fabric designs.
At home, the artist admits that she is obsessed with decorating and finding the perfect spot for all of her treasured objects. But in the studio, it feels refreshing to just let it be what it is, and that’s an open space in which to paint. It is ever-changing, acting as a catch-all for the paintings created within its walls, and in time becoming a work of art itself. —Annie
Photography by Jimmy Johnston, except where noted